So, as promised, it’s officially 6 months since I “big-chopped” and i’m bringing you a short hair series. If you haven’t already, check out #Part 1: How & Why I Transitioned to Natural. If you have, welcome! This is #Part 2:
Things I’ve Learned (Since Going Natural) & Maintenance
To reiterate what I said in Part 1, when I big-chopped, I had a huge identity crisis. To have my hair in its natural state and have an identity crisis; quite ironic. It was also slightly upsetting; that I was unsure as to what my natural hair would feel like, how to take care of it and how to style it in a way that made me feel comfortable.
Since stepping into natural territory, i’ve learned a few things:
- Patience is key – When dealing with naturally curly-kinky hair, you have to be extremely patient. From combing from ends to roots, wash days taking all day and even having to deal with hair in sections rather than all at once. The method to retaining length is being patient and understanding you may have underestimated how long a process might be!
- Preparation saves time – Twisting your hair before you sleep means you have a fresh twist out in the morning. Sleeping with a silk headscarf means you don’t have a matted mess in the morning. Styling your hair weekly or bi-weekly means your hair becomes low maintenance.
- Hydration, hydration, hydration! – So many times i’ve styled my hair for the week that when I go to change it – it won’t move! I keep a spray bottle with bottled/filtered water (because water from the tap is WAY too hard) and a few drops of pure peppermint oil which I use to spray my hair in this case. It wets my hair, brings all the oil back to the surface and gives my hair the movement back. Curly-kinky hair needs hydration so don’t be afraid to get it wet! It’s much easier to style your hair when it’s damp as opposed to being dry.
- Humidity and Hydration – On the contrary, if your hair is damp, it’s best you avoid humid air. *sigh* I made the mistake of trying to do a last minute twist out and entering a club.. Results? Shrinkage x10. I literally could not make this stuff up! When I left the house, my hair felt soft, it was all stretched out and looked great. When I left the club, my afro was about an inch long and there was no style to it whatsoever. #HairWoes
- Aim for Consistency – Changing products too often won’t allow you to truly see what works for your hair. Try to stick to the same methods too. The more consistent you keep with products and regimen, the easier it will be for you to stick at it. If, however, it’s obviously not working, switch out a product/method at a time.
- Embrace your individuality – Probably the most important thing i’ve learned! If you don’t like your natural hair and try to cover it – it will show. Enjoy your natural curls and the versatility of your strands. There are so many hairstyles, hair accessories and hair products out there; experiment, embrace and enjoy!
In regards to maintaining my hair, I will soon put together an updated regimen post but as for now, i’m still trying to find my staples. Some tips & techniques in the meantime:
- I shampoo my hair monthly and co-wash in between. If my natural hair is out, I tend to co-wash it weekly, if it’s in a protective style I usually aim for bi-weekly.
- Coconut oil on everything. Coconut oil on my scalp in the evenings, in the mornings, after its been shampooed – sometimes even before!
- Twistouts and braidouts are so much easier when the hair is damp.
- Ecostyler gel over a GOOD edge control then setting it with a silkscarf will hold your edges ALL day.
- Deep conditioning hair always works better when you keep in the heat with plastic caps.
- Protective styles last MUCH longer when you wrap your hair with a silkscarf at night.
- The lower the maintenance, the more length you will retain.
- The DOUBLE LOC method is probably the best moisture retention method out there for natural hair. Find a creamy leave-in, a light oil and a thick oil, and a thick and buttery cream. For me, the DOUBLE LOC method is Coconut oil, Cantu Leave in, Castor Oil and Lush R&B.
Do you have a staple regimen you use for your natural hair? What are the pros and cons of being natural? If you could go back to chemical relaxers – would you? Hit. Me. Up.
Check out #Part 3 – [VISUAL UPDATE] Length Check